I think you nailed it. I also wouldn't be a bit surprised to see the very same MM's or hedgies, or whoever, cover their shorts in front of tomorrow's earnings.
Can you imagine what would happen to the price of this stock (with all the news and sector/company fundamentals going for it) if they beat earnings tomorrow by a couple pennies? Up $3 at least, from today's close. Nobody's going to want to be short in front of tomorrow's numbers.